What’s the most important part of a successful startup? Having a great product or service is essential, of course, but it’s not enough to get you noticed and convince consumers to take a chance on a name they’ve never heard before. Your brand tells the world who you are, what you do, and why people should choose you over your competition, so effective brand management is an absolute must if you want to succeed.

WHAT DOES YOUR BUSINESS NAME TELL YOUR CUSTOMERS?

In season four of Shark Tank, Daymond made some really lucrative investments, and when you look at them, they all have one thing in common—their names are descriptive, catchy, and on-point. Pro-NRG is an energy drink that gives you the boost you need when you’re working out or just trying to get through your day. The Sound Bender is a cool iPad accessory that amplifies your iPad’s speakers without any need for additional power or electronics. The GoBIE H2O water bottle filters your water for you. It’s the sexiest water bottle around, and its name lives up to its quality. What’s in a name? Honestly, everything. So choose wisely.

CHOOSE CONSISTENT BRAND COLORS

I always recommend working with a graphic designer and/or a branding expert when you create your brand’s logo and company colors. You want to choose two to three colors that appear in your logo and that are immediately recognizable. And you don’t want to just say, “Okay, my company colors are red and yellow,” because there are a million shades of both of these colors out there. Choose specific shades that you can repeat in print, on clothing, and online.

DOES YOUR BRANDING EVOKE AN EMOTIONAL RESPONSE?

Of course, branding and brand management aren’t just about recognition and exposure. Brand management is also about creating a connection with your audience. You want to make them want to choose you, which means you have to play to their emotions. Does your branding evoke an emotional response? Whether your branding efforts make your audience laugh or cry, you want to get to their emotions to make them think of you when they need the kinds of products and services that you offer.

ARE YOU BEING CONSISTENT?

Colors aren’t the only thing that needs to be consistent about your brand. Do you have a brand voice? Can your audience and customers expect the same language and tone, whether they’re watching a commercial, reading a Facebook post, or talking to one of your brand representatives? If not, you need to create the structure and consistency to make this happen. This consistency will build your brand identity and give your prospective customers a clear idea of who you are and why they should choose you.

ARE YOU MARKETING WHERE YOUR AUDIENCE WILL SEE IT?

Where does your target audience hang out online? Facebook is the largest social network in the world, but younger audiences—while they may still have Facebook accounts—are spending more time on Snapchat and Instagram. Plus, more and more brands are taking advantage of Instagram’s image-heavy format to show off their products, to give customers a taste of what their brand offers, and to share some of their company culture with the world.

With these tips, you should have a pretty good start on managing your brand and getting the most out of your branding efforts. Make sure that you’re consistent and that you’re putting the effort in where your target audience will see it, and you’ll go much farther in less time and with fewer expenses.

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